Join Verona Essex Juniorettes To Make A Difference
By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
Having the opportunity to work and learn as a group, and developing personal leadership skills, is priceless. When a young person volunteers early on, it’s very likely that he or she will continue volunteering throughout their life. Young girls have the opportunity to become such leaders by joining The Verona Essex Juniorettes.
Girls, ages 10 to 18, grades five to 12, who are passionate about helping within their communities and like being part of an organized team, are learning a multitude of influential qualities in the Juniorettes club. All advisors are members of The General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
Currently there are 18 active members and according to Juniorettes Advisor Joann Theobald, the purpose of the group is “To give back to our community that we all love. That’s what our goal is.”
On Valentine’s Day, the Juniorettes brought about 50 bags of candy to the Veteran’s in Orange. Then, the Juniorettes sponsored a hat and glove drive for the YMCA homeless shelter in Newark; returning to the shelter a few weeks later to make bracelets.
Theobald said that the girls really wanted to get involved in helping the homeless and are excited about going back again next month.
One of the most outstanding events in Juniorettes’ history happened three-years-ago when they connected with a school for girls in Nepal.
Theobald said, “In order to get these girls out of homes, so they are not sold, they go to the school. We got involved with them. We donated and raised money by selling hot chocolate and cookies. We Skyped with kids in Nepal, 45 minutes to an hour, before we lost connection. That was their [the Juniorettes] most special time. Our girls’ jaws dropped when they heard that these girls love school and cherish a pencil or notebook. Our girls have things at their fingertips.”
The Nepal experience sparked The Juniorettes to establish Girls Learn International (GLI) at their high school. The GLI program educates students in the global movement for girls’ access to education as it supports the empowerment of U.S. students while they avidly tackle issues and develop solutions to problems girls face in both the United States and around the world.
“When it comes to people in need, they [The Juniorettes] are eager to help,” said Theobald.
Upcoming events include a “Stop and Shop” for the Church of the Holy Spirit in Verona, as they are opening a food pantry; and painting hearts for the Hearts of Hope at St. Barnabas in Livingston.
Because of all the hard work the Juniorettes put in, Theobald related that it’s equally important to mix in some fun. “We’re hoping to go and celebrate ourselves with a mani/pedi,” she said.
Girls in grades five to 12 are welcome to get involved. Theobald can be contacted directly at 201-341-4026.
Verona Juniorettes meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Verona Community Center, 880 Bloomfield Ave.